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The Difference Between Residential Assisted Living and The Golden Girls Model

The golden girls concept of senior living works for survival, but aging adults are thriving in the residential assisted living model of senior housing.

There are countless benefits of small residential assisted living homes.

Five Commonly Known Benefits of Residential Assisted Living Homes

  1. Caring staff on hand for increased safety, from medication management to better staff to resident ratios.
  2. Cooks/chefs preparing and providing meals.
  3. Laundry and other household chores managed by staff
  4. All of the stresses of owning and keeping up a home and the surrounding property is taken care of
  5. Transportation means independent seniors may put themselves and others in danger by driving, and if they don’t drive, their travel options may be severely limited.

There are many more reasons, but this is a starting point. On the other hand, the Golden Girls theme song is catchy, but the living arrangements can get complicated. 

The Golden Girls was a sitcom that struck the hearts of all Americans. 

“Thank you for being a friend. Traveled down the road and back again. Your heart is true; you’re a pal and a confidant…,” are just a few words to the beloved theme song. 

Its prevailing themes of independence, dignity, community, and care echo the sentiments of every American village, town, suburb, and city. 

This show reflected the hopes of aging Americans and the desire to live communally.

While simple and idealistic, The Golden Girls concept has its challenges. 

Residential assisted living homes offer all of these coveted values with the proper medical and living support necessary for aging safely, unlike other independent communal living.


Professionally known as home-sharing arrangements, The Golden Girls concept can be great for some, but has many short-comings. 

Ideally, home-sharing offers so much to residents, but it also brings challenges. 

  • Financial implications associated with monies generated by tenants.
  • Contractual requirements with expectations in terms of rent, responsibilities, and living arrangements. 
  • Cohabitation for those who have lived alone for many years presents a significant challenge.  
  • Aging seniors needing increasing levels of help and support for daily activities.

At first, it seems like a great option. Especially if keeping a home becomes a financial burden for an owner. 

However, more often than not, The Golden Girls scenario has the potential of transforming to a nightmare.

Residential assisted living helps seniors avoid the horrors associated with home sharing. 


That revolutionary generation, the Baby Boomers, lead the charge when it comes to aging on their terms. 

Taking the unique strategy of adequately addressing the cost of living with community needs, Baby Boomers have taken The Golden Girls strategy as a viable option.  

In the senior living community, “Boommates” occupy homes as roommates who are Baby Boomers. 

Rather than living alone, many Boomers seek others to share housing with them. 

Everyone can maintain independence while creating a support system upon which they can depend.

Such living conditions repulse boomers who view assisted living as a step up from nursing facilities. 

So, in true Baby Boomer fashion, they carve out their solution. 

With such a narrow view of assisted living homes, many Boomers resist residential assisted living homes because they are misinformed. 

They confuse these small homes with big box nursing facilities.

Instead, residential assisted living homeowners have adopted many of The Golden Girls features while offering the benefits of assisted care.

The assisted living home provides a safe alternative with medical professionals to ensure vitality. 

The friends in a residential assisted living home are more than the residents, including the medical professionals.


Seventy million Baby Boomers are in America, and there is a need for adequate and safe housing. 

There are five leading reasons fueling seniors to regard The Golden Girls concept:

  1. Boomers are living longer independent lifestyles
  2. Many seniors have insufficient retirement savings
  3. Rising housing prices
  4. Loneliness

Unfortunately, many older people cannot afford a place by themselves. Life is full of surprises, and many could never have anticipated living costs being so exorbitant. 

However, this is reality. 

While robust and energetic, many Baby Boomers develop conditions that could result in morbidity and mortality if unattended. 

Rampant amongst Baby Boomers are chronic conditions such as:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Heart Disease
  3. Cognitive Challenges
  4. Arthritis
  5. Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
  6. Osteoporosis
  7. Arthritis

With such challenges, living with “Boommates” independently may not be the best option. 

A lack of attention to these conditions could result in a healthcare crisis that otherwise would be avoidable.

The Golden Girl model of home sharing doesn’t take into consideration the need for assistance with activities of daily living. 

How can Baby Boomers achieve their greatest desire without compromising their health?

The Golden Egg

Residential Assisted Living offers the desires reflected by the Golden Girls with the necessities of the Boomer. Independence is not a forgone conclusion when living in an assisted living home. It is the cornerstone of the assisted living home.  

Aging with dignity is one of the highest regarded values of the assisted living home. The idea behind assisted living is to allow independence and dignity without compromising quality healthcare. 

The need for such among our nation’s Baby Boomers is most telling.

Within the next 20 years, the projection for renters who are more than 60 years of age will grow by 80%. 

Essentially, about 11.5 million seniors will require adequate and affordable housing. This data from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University carefully follows the changing age demographics of the United States and the needs arising because of it. Knowing the data without knowing the people does not solve the problem.

Residential assisted living homes exist because they understand Baby Boomers’ nature and the demographic data surrounding their existence.
The needs are very much The Golden Girls phenomena but must include the healthcare contingencies as well.


The Residential Assisted Living Academy knows House-Sharing is a tricky proposition. Chemistry must be present for it to work, notwithstanding any health challenges.  

Owners, operators, and caregivers in RAL homes understand how to create a caring culture and mediate difficult transitions.  

Even with the best resources, many intangible and unforeseen challenges arise with shared housing.

When living in someone’s home and finding yourself unhappy, unwanted, and vulnerable is a reality petrifying to many seniors. 

A solution to this exists.

The assisted living home employs professionals who make it their business to find the home’s right person. 

Senior living requires the right resident and the right employees, from the cooks to the nurses. 

It is imperative to the peace and vitality of the home. 

Resolutions and reconciliations are more common in these homes as professionals who care about the home help residents, and employees find consensus.

While life may not be fair all of the time, Baby Boomers who need support in their living situation need not fear. 

Independence, dignity, and community are theirs for the asking in an assisted living home.

Experts at the Residential Assisted Living Academy are committed to seniors. As a result, age does not dictate senior dignity. 

Dignity and contentment result in overall wellness for the senior.


Home-Sharing is not a new concept or a novel idea. It’s been happening for centuries, even before the founding of America. 

Nonetheless, the American concept of homeownership never considered the need to share the home with those not familially affiliated. 

As a result, this is where the assisted living home makes such an incredible difference. It’s the American home redefined on neutral turf.   

Visit and register for the 3-day course to help seniors make tough transitions. 

It’s tough for seniors, but not impossible with the help of entrepreneurs aiming to do good and do well. 

There is a trend for seniors to share housing and remain independent. However, this can be unsafe, and there are better alternatives – residential assisted living homes.

You can be part of the solution to provide seniors with quality housing while making significant cash flow.

Andrew Gold wrote the song that became synonymous with aging independently – “Thank you for being a friend.”

The American household during the 1980s heard the song weekly. The lyrics etched into our minds as much as any Beegees tune.  

Now is the time to prepare for the silver tsunami by helping seniors transition into a safe and independent assisted living environment.

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